Wednesday 8 June 2011

Lovers Turn To Monsters - Beyond Glasgow Howls

There are some musical folk out there who can't fail to impress you with their productivity, churning out track after track with seemingly effortless ease.  One such person is Kyle Wood a.k.a. Lovers Turn To Monsters.  At the moment, his Bandcamp page boasts a staggering collection of over 100 lo-fi home recordings, two-thirds of them penned by his own fair hand, all of them free!  On the 16th of June, there'll be another eleven joining his already impressive catalogue, in the form of his first "professionally mixed, mastered and pressed album" Beyond Glasgow Howls.  So be prepared to get your wallets out for a change!  Late last month, Kyle gave me a sneak preview of the album, safe in the knowledge that I owed him a review after I shamefully revealed his secret Panda Su crush to the world.   Shit... did it again!

Rest assured though, if this album was even a wee bit on the shit side, I'd have found some other way to make it up to Kyle.  Predicable though, Kyle has once again delivered.  So here's my unbiased take on his latest offering...

As things kick off with the feedback intro of Fall, straining your ears you'll start to make out some warbled voices which soon enough reveal themselves to be good ol' fashioned Glaswegian banter.  As you go beyond these Glasgow howls, the song develops into a great wee tinkling tale of unrequited love... I think.  The pair of tracks that follow are my two favourite on the album, Nothing Else For It and Cameo whose intro falls somewhere between The Shocking Pinks and early Radio Dept.  Both songs are guaranteed to have you singing along to their epic refrains. 

Three songs in, and with his familiar voice and lo-fi musical ethos very much the same as before, Kyle's claims of a professionally mixed and mastered sound aren't entirely obvious.  A quick listen back to last year's Cars, Bars and Shooting Stars though, and it's amazing how polished Beyond Glasgow Howls sounds in comparison.  That was one of my fears when he sent me this album.   I feared that the sometimes distant sound, the odd wee crackle, hiss and dare-I-say, duff note, that I loved about his music, the stuff that gave it a bit of character and set it apart from all else around, would be stripped away completely.  As polishing goes though, Kyle has got it pretty much spot-on here. 

As a whole, the album flows really well, with some subtle, fleeting Amusement Parks On Fire-esque flashes and one or two complete shifts in style like the brilliant, synthy, instrumental Subway, peppered in amongst the stripped back, acoustic, awkwardly-beautiful lo-fi that's the staple of this very impressive album.   Gawn yersel Kyle! 

If you wanna get your hands on Beyond Glasgow Howls, Lovers Turn To Monsters will be marking it's launch at Slouch in Glasgow on the 16th with support from Where We Lay Our Heads and So Many Animal Calls.

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